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FIU Takes Series with 7-1 Victory in Game Three

FIU (25-27, 13-14 SBC) earned the series win over UALR (26-25, 11-16 SBC) with a 7-1 game three victory on Sunday at Gary Hogan Field.
LITTLE ROCK, AR – FIU (25-27, 13-14 SBC) earned the series win over UALR (26-25, 11-16 SBC) with a 7-1 game three victory on Sunday at Gary Hogan Field. The Panthers’ offense produced just two more hits than the Trojans, but UALR issued eight free bases – six on walks and two hit batsmen – compared to four by the FIU pitching staff.

The Panthers plated their seven runs on 10 hits, led by Aramis Garcia’s 2-for-4 effort at the plate that went along with three RBI and two runs scored. Josh Anderson and Oscar Agguire added two hits each for FIU.

Three UALR players finished the game with multiple hits. Juniors Ben Crumpton and Austin Pfieffer and senior Chris Burk totaled two hits each. Pfeiffer drove in the Trojans’ only run of the game on an RBI single that scored junior Bryson Thionnet in the bottom of the fifth inning.

FIU out-hit UALR 10-8 on Sunday.

FIU starter Alex Seibold tossed 7.0 innings while surrendering just one run on seven hits to improve to 3-5 on the season. Alberto Cardenas allowed just one hit over a scoreless final 2.0 innings to pick his fourth save of the season. Senior Blake Huffman (6-4) was tagged with the loss, giving up three runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. Huffman was pulled in favor of junior Chase Rousseau, who gave up one run on one hit in 1.0 inning of relief work. Senior Bubba Cooper and junior Dillon Mortiz combined to give up three runs on two hits over the final 2.2 innings.

After both teams went scoreless over the first two innings, FIU took a 2-0 lead on two hits and a walk in the top of the third. Aguirre drew a walk to lead off the inning, but Huffman was able to retire Antonio Rodriguez and Tyler Hibbert in the next two at-bats to put two outs on the board. A two-out single by Zach Sweety moved Aguirre to second, and a bases-clearing double off the bat of Garcia plated both runners to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.

Pfeiffer’s RBI single in the bottom of the fifth made it a one-run game, but FIU answered with three-straight two-out hits in the top of the sixth to go up 3-1. Nathan Burns started the two-out rally with a single through the right side. TJ Shantz followed with a bunt single, and Aguirre ripped a double to right center that allowed Burns to score from second.

A solo shot by Garcia gave FIU a four-run cushion in the top of the seventh. Following a scoreless eighth inning, the Panthers struck with three runs on two hits and two walks in the top of the ninth. Cooper walked Hibbert to start the inning, and Sweety laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Hibbert to second. Moritz then came on for Cooper and issued an intentional walk to Garcia. The next batter, Edwin Rios, hit a single back up the middle to plate Hibbert and give FIU a 5-1 lead. Anderson then ripped a two-RBI double down the left-field line to make it 7-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Burk started UALR’s half of the ninth with a double to the right-center gap, and junior Kaleb Jobe drew a one-out to give the Trojans a pair of base runners. But Cardenas was able to retire the next two batters he faced, striking out Thionnet and Guarno to seal the series for FIU.

UALR returns to action on Thursday, when it begins its final regular-season series of the season at Arkansas State. First pitch on Thursday is set for 6:30 p.m.
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